Arctic III

James decided to wait out the night and approach Marie in the morning to give her time to cool down. She had, he noticed in the seven months they had cohabited this research facility, an undying fire deep inside her. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing when she channeled that fire into something productive. But, if she was on a warpath, it was best to make yourself scarce for a while.

 

“Morning Marie. Anton.” James said walking into the pantry-sized kitchenette. He made the same joke he made every morning: “Cozy, huh.”

 

It hadn’t been funny the first time and it wasn’t funny now but Anton let out what might have been a laugh. Marie remained silent. She wasn’t glaring in James’ direction which was a small win in his book, but he could tell she was nursing her anger.

 

James poured himself a cup of coffee and followed his colleagues into the rec room. The small folding table in the middle of the room was where they normally took their meals. Today was no different.

 

“So, what’s on the agenda for today?” James said slouching in his chair.

 

Anton looked to Marie to respond. When it was obvious that she wouldn’t raise her gaze from her coffee, he spoke up.

 

“Uhhh, well now that the wind has died down I think we’re going out and checking the upper level for any damage.”

 

“Damage?” James raised an eyebrow. “You know that this outpost is basically an above-ground bunker designed to withstand a nuclear blast right?”

 

Anton shrugged. “I didn’t make the plans. Marie told me earlier that we’re clearing excessive ice buildup on any joints we find.”

 

“Speaking of which,” Marie cut in. James turned to meet her glare.

 

“James have you fixed that door yet?”

 

“No. I–”

 

“That’s what you’re doing today then. We can’t risk another incident like that.” Marie said with a cold delegation.

 

“I was going to say that was the first thing on my to-do list today.” James finished. “After that I’m going to check in with D.C.”

 

“Great.” Marie said standing. “Glad everyone knows what they’re doing.” With that she turned sharply and raced back into the kitchenette.

 

“I think she’s still upset about yesterday.” Anton whispered. “Just give her some time. I think she’ll come around.” Anton paused. “She has to right? We’re like stuck in here for a few more months until this rotation’s up.”

 

“Anton m’boy, I think you’re right” James said. “Say, how old did you say you were again?”

 

“22.”

 

“22,” James let the number hang in the air. “All I can say is this: You’re spot on. Marie will come around, not because she wants to, but because she has to. She’s in charge here and she can’t afford to cut everyone out.” James took his coffee and the cup that Marie had left on the table and left Anton. He found Marie leaning up against the counter with her arms crossed against her chest.

 

“You forgot this.” He said handing her the mug.

 

“Thanks.” She said accepting the gesture. They stood together a moment and synchronised their sips.

 

“Listen Marie, I’m sorry about yesterday. I fucked up. It’s perfectly fine that you’re pissed. You have every right to be. I put you and youngblood in danger, so again: sorry.”

 

“Thanks for that.” Marie hesitated. “I wanted to kill you last night. You’re lucky that my hands were nearly frozen solid.” She menaced and relaxed. “I appreciate the apology, I know you mean it. I’m curious though, what were you doing that had you so preoccupied?”

 

James chuckled. “You’re not going to believe this,” he began.

 

Marie’s face drained of all curiousity. “You were watching Jurassic fucking Park again weren’t you?”

 

James’ chuckle broke into a deep belly laugh. She swatted his arm.

 

“It’s not funny you motherfucker.” Marie let out a giggled.
In his best Bob Peck impersonation James laughed “Clever Girl.”

 

Read part 1.

Read part 2.

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